Combining aerial LiDAR and multispectral imagery to assess postfire regeneration types in a Mediterranean forest
Martín Alcón, Santiago
De Cáceres, Miquel
Guitart i Xarpell, Lídia
González-Olabarria, José Ramón
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Wildfires play a major role in driving vegetation changes and can cause important environmental and economic losses in Mediterranean forests, especially where the dominant species lacks efficient postfire regeneration mechanisms. In these areas, postdisturbance vegetation management strategies need to be based on detailed, spatially continuous inventories of the burned area. Here, we present a methodology in which we combine airborne LiDAR and multispectral imagery to assess postfire regeneration types in a spatially continuous way, using a Mediterranean black pine (Pinus nigra Arn ssp. salzmannii) forest that burned in 1998 as a case study. Five postfire regeneration types were obtained by clustering field-plot data using Ward’s method. Two of the five regeneration types presented high tree cover (one clearly dominated by hardwoods and the other dominated by pines), a third type presented low to moderate tree cover, being dominated by hardwoods, and the remaining two types matched to areas dominated by soil–herbaceous or shrub layers with very low or no tree cover (i.e., very low to no tree species regeneration). These five types of regeneration were used to conduct a supervised classification of remote sensing data using a nonparametric supervised classification technique. Compared with independent field validation points, the remote sensing based assessment method resulted in a global classification accuracy of 82.7%. Proportions of regeneration types in the study area indicated a general shift from the former pine-dominated forest toward hardwood dominance and showed no serious problems of regeneration failure. Our methodological approach appears to be appropriate for informing postdisturbance vegetation management strategies over large areas.
Is part ofCanadian Journal of Forest Research, 2015, vol. 45, núm. 7, p. 856-866
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